How does Chinese New Year Impact North American Business?

By: Elliott Smith

Import from China To USAIt’s a busy time of year at IMA, both for Christmas/holiday orders, and for the buildup towards Chinese New Year. That’s right, Chinese New Year. The New Year celebrations in China have a huge impact on international commerce. At IMA, our core business has always been helping Canadian entrepreneurs market and distribute their products profitably in the United States. A growing part of that business means helping Canadian businesses import directly from China to the USA.

A little-known fact of working with Chinese producers is the surge in manufacturing and export that accompanies the run-up to Chinese New Year. Many Chinese factories shut down for several weeks, during Chinese New Year celebrations. The Chinese New year celebrations, also known as the Spring Festival, will begin on January 31, 2014. According to Travel China Guide, the festival lasts almost half a month.

The Chinese factories that shut down entirely for the period of the festival often precede this idle period with a run-up in production to meet orders in North America and around the globe. IMA’s Operations Manager Terry Dickey says that one of IMA’s clients is currently receiving double the amount of inventory they customarily import, in preparation of the Chinese New year manufacturing hiatus.

With almost 30 years of international commerce experience and 20,000 square feet of warehouse space, IMA is well-equipped to help North American businesses accommodate the surge in production that precedes the Chinese New year manufacturing shutdown. If your business is looking for a reliable partner to help with USA warehousing and fulfillment, in preparation for Chinese New Year, or year-round, call the logistics experts at IMA at 360-380-6900.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: imawa@ucantrade.com


Low Loonie a Possible Boon to Canadian Exporters

By: IMA Staff

Loonie

The falling Loonie could be good news for BC Exporters. Business in Vancouver reports that manufacturers and exporters in the province might find the decreasing value of the Canadian dollar to be welcome news.

According to Business in Vancouver:

The Canadian dollar has been sliding since mid-October, which could benefit British Columbia’s manufacturing and export industries in the immediate term, according to the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).

On Wednesday (December 4, 2013), the dollar dipped below US$ 0.934, marking its lowest level since May 25, 2010.

“Given that we are an exporting province, that could be a good thing,” said Marcus Ewert-Johns, vice-president at CME’s B.C. division. “Usually a lower Canadian dollar is good for exporters, as the foreign buyer has greater purchasing power.
 
Read the full article on Business in Vancouver here.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: imawa@ucantrade.com

Comment: U.S. Thanksgiving weekend is a big deal

By: Jim Pettinger

Americans are known worldwide as hard workers who take little time off for holidays and vacations compared to others. However, Thanksgiving is a major exception. The holiday itself is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, but the preceding week and following weekend are probably more festive and family-oriented for Americans than is Christmas week in other countries. In addition, the growing traditions of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” only increase the frenzy around the holiday.

Canadian shoppers and businesses that export should take note: First, border lineups will be longer than any other time of year; check wait times before you go at the link on our website at www.ucantrade.com. And second, most non-retail businesses are closed on Thursday, and many provide limited services on Friday. For example, UPS offers no pickups at all on Thursday, and only air shipments by appointment on Friday. Consequently, make sure all your U.S. orders are filled and shipped earlier in the week.

The good news is that American internet shoppers will be on their computers for many more hours than usual. In fact, many internet retailers now recognize “Cyber Monday” as a great day to hold major discount sales similar to what their brick and mortar counterparts offer on “Black Friday”.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: tradetips@ucantrade.com

More BC Shoppers Visiting Whatcom County

By: IMA staff

More Canadians are shopping in WhatcomCounty. Bargains at new stores like Winco, and existing favorites including Fred Meyer, Trader Joe’s and Costco continue to draw shoppers south of the border. Bellingham Herald Business Editor Dave Gallagher reports that Canadians’ shopping trips to WhatcomCounty have quadrupled since 2007.

According to Gallagher

The Whatcom Council of Governments released the results of an interim survey taken this summer of travelers going south through the region’s five border crossings. The survey estimates 310,000 vehicles crossed the border into Whatcom County with shopping the travelers’ primary purpose in July; that’s more than quadruple the number of vehicles during the same period in 2007.

The percentage of those interviewed that listed shopping as the primary reason for crossing the border was 45 percent, up from 19 percent in 2007.

The July survey was done by Western Washington University’s Border Policy Research Institute, which employed Western students or graduates to do the study. The second wave of surveys will be done in February 2014.

Read Bellingham Herald Business Editor Dave Gallagher’s full report here.

 

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: tradetips@ucantrade.com

Area Business Professionals Invited to Munro Seminar at WWU

By: IMA Staff

Members of the Whatcom County Business Community and British Columbia entrepreneurs who do business in Washington state are invited to the Munro Seminar for Civic Education November 5,6,7 at Western Washington University.

According to Western Today,

The Munro seminar is an annual program sponsored by Western’s Political Science Department designed to bring students, faculty, business leaders and legislators together to discuss how to build a smarter Washington. Ralph Munro is a WWU alumnus who served as Washington’s secretary of state from 1980 to 2000. He now serves as a member of Western’s Board of Trustees. The talks each morning will focus on technology, higher education, Washington’s business climate, Washington politics and more.

The November 5 10:30 AM session on Washington’s Business Climate may be of particular interest to business professionals:

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 10:30 AM: “Washington’s Business Climate: Too Much Tax? Too Much Regulation?”

10:30 to 11:45 a.m. – Panel with Rep. Chris Reykdal, vice chair of the House Labor and Workforce Development Committee and member of the House Finance Committee; Rep. J.T. Wilcox, minority floor leader, House Appropriations Committee; Paul Guppy, vice president for research, Washington Policy Center; and Andrew Nicholas, senior fiscal analyst, Washington State Budget and Policy Center.

Ralph Munro WWUThe seminar will take place in the Viking Union building at WWU. Area business professionals attending the Munro seminars can obtain a free parking permit at Western’s Parking Office. For more information read the full article on Western Today.

Doing Business in the USA: Full Day Seminar & Professional Briefing

By: IMA Staff

Interested in expanding your Lower Mainland or FraserValley business to the United States? Learn how on Thursday November 14 at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel in Surrey.

International Market Access, Inc. presents “Doing Business in the USA,” a full day seminar and professional briefing that contains all the information BC entrepreneurs need to get started selling stateside.

Cross Border SeminarThe USA is a huge and responsive market for both Canadian and imported products and services. This seminar is designed to help you understand the market, plan your approach, and suggest practical methods and alternatives for implementing your business and marketing plans. Key topics include: (1) dealing with “border issues”, such as U.S. travel and immigration planning, U.S. customs clearance, business planning, taxation, currency exchange and legal considerations; (2) understanding “logistics issues”, such as establishing a USA business identity, warehousing, transportation, fulfillment, and handling of returned goods; and (3) “sales/marketing strategies”, including market overview, sales/marketing fundamentals, lessons and pitfalls. A special new afternoon session will cover “Money, Money, Money!”. In addition, the seminar will feature “resource introductions”, including the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service.

Since 1997, IMA’s seminars have helped over 4,000 British Columbia entrepreneurs learn how to profitably enter the USA market. The November 14 seminar will include the most up-to-date tips, tricks and tools of the cross-border business trade. This will be the last seminar offered in 2013, so don’t delay! Book your tickets today, before the seminar sells out.

Where: Surrey, BC – Sheraton Guildford Hotel

When: Thursday, November 14, 2013, 8:30am to 4:30pm

Cost:  $195 per person, pre-registered ($145 each for 2 or more)

          (If registered on/before Nov.8, deduct $25 per person.)

Media Release: Click here

Registration: Click here

Info:  Carol Jackson,  1-800-799-8848, dbusa@ucantrade.com

or visit www.ucantrade.com 

US Postal Service Proposes Raising Stamp Prices in 2014

By: Elliott Smith

The US Postal Service (USPS) is proposing a three cent increase in first class postage rates, to take effect in early 2014. NBC News reports that the USPS is proposing to increase the cost of mailing a domestic (1 oz or 28 gram) First Class letter by three cents to 49 cents.

US PostageThe proposed increases outlined by USPS also include a rate hike of five cents for (1 oz or 28 gram) letters mailed from the US to “all international destinations” including Canada. The new letter rate to Canada would climb to $1.15 from the current $1.10 price.

These rate hikes are subject to approval by the Postal Regulatory Commission. The Postal Service is seeking the increases to help put a stop to massive financial losses caused by a decline in mail volume, and increased competition from the private sector, among other factors.

For many business shipping needs, especially order fulfillment, the increased reliability and superior tracking offered by private carriers often makes shipping via UPS or FedEx a more viable choice than using the Postal Service.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the USPS is facing pressure from Congress to become more efficient. A proposal floated earlier in 2013 for the USPS to save money by eliminating Saturday letter delivery was scrapped in April, when Congress passed a bill requiring Saturday letter delivery to continue, the LA Times reports.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: tradetips@ucantrade.com


“Pirate Joe’s” Wins Case in US Federal Court

By: Elliott Smith

Pirate Joe’s, a popular Kitsilano reseller of Trader Joe’s products has won a major victory in US Federal court. The store on Vancouver’s West 4th Ave owned by BC Entrepreneur Michael Hallatt was sued by California-based Trader Joe’s for reselling its products north of the border. A US Federal District Court in Seattle ruled that Pirate Joe’s Pirate Joe'swas not acting improperly or causing harm to the grocery chain by exporting large quantities of goods purchased at its stateside retail outlets and reselling them to Vancouver consumers.

Hallatt’s business began by frequenting the Bellingham store, where he was often seen purchasing cartfuls of non-perishable goods for export and resale in British Columbia. According to NBC News, staff at the Bellingham store welcomed Hallatt at first: “They saw Hallatt’s Vancouver outlet as a way to reduce the long lines in their own store.” But he quickly became persona non grata at Trader Joe’s, as the company grew to dislike his unauthorized reselling of their products in Canada.

The Bellingham Trader Joe’s store is notorious among WhatcomCounty and Lower Mainland shoppers for its tiny parking lot. As one commenter on Reddit pointed out, Hallatt might seem to be doing the Bellingham store and its patrons a favor by reducing traffic into the facility. But alas, Trader Joe’s did not see it that way. The chain sued Hallatt in US Federal court for, according to NBC News, “alleged federal trademark infringement, deceptive business practices,” and a host of other claims that he was causing harm to the Trader Joe’s brand and business.

Judge Marsha J. Pechman disagreed, dismissing the lawsuit from US Federal District Court and ruling in Hallatt’s favor. NBC News notes that Trader Joes was given a short window in which it may pursue a new lawsuit against Pirate Joe’s in state courts. As of this publication, there is no indication that such a lawsuit has been filed. Trade Tips Blog will monitor the situation, and post updates as they occur.

For more details on Pirate Joe’s legal victory, read this article by Elizabeth Chuck of NBC News.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: tradetips@ucantrade.com

Margaret Stock Awarded MacArthur “Genius Grant”

By: Elliott Smith

Immigration attorney Margaret Stock of Cascadia Cross-Border Law has been awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, more commonly known as the MacArthur “Genius Grant.” Stock, who was recently profiled on Trade Tips Blog was recognized for her innovative work related to immigration and national security. Stock is currently the principal attorney at Cascadia Cross-Border Law’s Anchorage, AK office. Prior to that, she served in the US Army Reserves and taught at the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 2009, Stock was a Research Fellow at Western Washington University’s Border Policy Research Institute.

Cascadia Cross-Border Law notes that “Margaret’s genius has been manifested in a broad variety of stellar achievements to date, including acting as architect for the U.S. military’s MAVNI program.” MAVNI stands for Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, which, according to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “allows the U.S. armed forces to attract and retain foreign nationals with language, medical, and other skills critical to military readiness and national security by expediting their path to citizenship.”

Genius Grant

Margaret Stock, photo courtesy Cascadia Cross-Border Law, Bellingham, Washington

The MacArthur Foundation also had this to say about Stock:

“Margaret Stock is an attorney bringing her singular knowledge of immigration law and national security law to bear on reform efforts through direct representation and policy-based advocacy. With a broad view of national security that goes beyond protecting the country from terrorist threats to include the protection of economic and political interests that ensure our prosperity, Stock articulates the crucial role of a healthy and efficient immigration system in responding to changes in the global economy and maintaining the foundational values of our democracy.” Read the full announcement on the MacArthur Foundation’s website:

 

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: tradetips@ucantrade.com

 

 


Selling Into the USA: Easier Than You Think

By: Jim Pettinger

Have you considered the potential benefits of exporting your company’s products into the United States? If not, you may be neglecting the largest, richest and most responsive market in the world – a market that lies right at British Columbia’s doorstep.

Export from CanadaUnfortunately, many Canadian small business owners and entrepreneurs are either confused or intimidated when they hear the words “export” or “international trade.” But with the right planning, small business owners in Canada can and should approach the U.S. like an extension of the Canadian market. Once you’ve developed some basic procedures for dealing with the international boundary, exporting to the U.S. can be both easy and lucrative.

A Huge and Receptive Market

The United States is a huge market of more than 300 million consumers who welcome foreign products. What’s more, the U.S. government is very cooperative when it comes to helping Canadian businesses get a foothold in U.S. markets.

As a Canadian business owner, you can readily obtain a B-1 visa that will enable you to travel within the U.S. for marketing and other business purposes for up to six months. And once you’ve gone through the appropriate security procedures (like basic fingerprinting and photographing), you can have access to fast-track border crossings unavailable to most other visitors.

The Canadian government has also instituted programs to help facilitate business across our southern border. In addition, Canadian businesses are generally well-respected in the U.S. and considered to be trustworthy. Canadian goods and services are often perceived to be of high quality and a “cut above” by U.S. customers.

Secret to Success: Think Domestic

The secret to successfully exporting your products or services to the U.S. is to “think domestic” by establishing a presence for your business in the United States. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical presence-you just need for your U.S. customers to perceive that your business has a presence south of the border.

In other words, you should organize all the logistics of your business so that American customers do not believe they will have any additional concerns in dealing with a Canadian firm. For example, they need to know that they can deal in U.S. dollars and have their products shipped from or returned to a U.S. address. All of your communications, logistics and other activities should be handled from a real or virtual U.S. branch office or warehouse.

Regardless of whether your U.S. branch or warehouse is real or virtual, having a U.S. presence will pay big dividends in cost savings, response time and control. You can plan ahead to anticipate storage of trade show booths and the purchase of collateral materials in the U.S., as well as for returns and repairs. And you can avoid headaches by shipping your products, literature and other material directly through your nearest U.S. port of entry.

It’s also crucial that you get to know the U.S. marketplace first-hand. Many Canadians think they know everything about the U.S. through what they see and hear in the media, but you can’t just start advertising to Americans from your Canadian base and expect immediate success. You need to spend some time with your “boots on the ground” conducting first-person research in potential new market areas in the U.S.

Also, remember that the United States is a huge market, so you must focus your limited resources. Most Canadian success stories in the U.S. result from niche, rather than broad, marketing efforts. Your company’s specific niche market in the U.S. consists only of those prospects you can reasonably afford to reach.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: tradetips@ucantrade.com